My Health Record's Macbeth moment

So, here we go again: yet another Senate inquiry has been called into the My Health Record and cynics that we are, we think it will simply be an exercise in thrashing out the same arguments we've all heard before.

There was the 2010 debate on how this thing would look, the 2011 debate on the legislation enabling it, the 2012 botched go live, the 2013 Royle review, the 2014 decision to keep it going, the 2015 decision to trial opt-out, the 2016 trials, the 2017 COAG approval for opt-out, and now here we are in 2018, in the middle of the opt-out period, and we get another inquiry.

While we are pleased that the public information campaign, or lack thereof, is part of the terms of reference, the rest looks like a rehash of everything that has been debated before ad nauseam. Submissions have been called, political points will be scored, and nothing much of use will be achieved.

Here's how it will play out:

  • ALP senator: You did this!
  • LNP senator: No, you!
  • AMA: doctors and their patients need to be consulted on this, and security and privacy are paramount
  • CHF: patients and their doctors need to be consulted on this, and privacy and security are paramount
  • ADHA: Digital health is transforming the lives of one man and his dog in Berrigan.
  • RACGP: Are GPs ever going to get paid for this? No? Carry on.
  • Privacy lobby: Orwell! Goebbels Goebbels Orwell Goebbels! Orwell!
  • Twitter activists: This is worse than Hitler.
  • Media: Is this in fact worse than Hitler? Let's ask Hitler.

Not quite Shakespeare, is it? And yet it is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

In other news this week, Victoria and Tasmania are in the market for statewide health IT infrastructure, with Tasmania looking for an eReferrals capability and Victoria looking to link up its different EMRs and PASs through a clinical information sharing solution.

Victoria runs a decentralised system and each health service can pretty much choose for themselves, with most using iPM as the patient administration system and some of the bigger ones including Alfred, Eastern, Northern and Peninsula using the Cerner EMR that was rolled out during the HealthSmart days. Epic is live at Royal Children's and is set to go into Melbourne Health in the next couple of years. Bendigo chose InterSystems, as did a few of the rural services, while Barwon uses Bossnet.

As part of its digital health strategy, Victoria is also replacing the old JCAPS enterprise service bus with the Rhapsody integration engine, and is working on rolling out a new enterprise master patient index from NextGate. The clinical information sharing solution looks likely to sit on top of all of this as these systems still don't talk to each other.

That is something that the big EMR vendors are finally trying to solve. Just this week Epic announced it was inviting US healthcare providers that don't use its EMR to a a summit in Wisconsin to find out how to exchange data. We also heard from some pretty big tech firms – Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Oracle – on their views on healthcare interoperability, although as these companies don't actually produce clinical software it appears they are promising things they don't actually have to deliver.

Speaking of not delivering and history repeating itself, our poll this week asks: will another Senate inquiry into MyHR prove useful?

Sign up to our weekend edition to vote or leave your thoughts below.

Our poll last week asked: Do you think EMR-related clinician burnout is a problem in Australia and NZ? This was a close one: 53.6 per cent said yes, 46.4 per cent said no.

Tags: PCEHR, My Health Record

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